First line of offence, is the defence…

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The last installment of the guest post goes to comment regular Duke! Pedro will be back in an hour with a 0900 post!

Good morning boys and girls,

I want to move away from all the talk of Adebayor, getting his replacement in Ronaldo’s twin brother (Who is now Sunderland bound) and how shite he is, discussing if The Hunter would fit our team perfectly and if we should break our transfer record for him or how desperately we need a DM. Those are all good topics, but we have discussed them on Le Grove, over and over again. Everyone has their own opinion on those topics, but all we can agree on is that we need a DM. Well what we also desperately need is a CB. Why you ask? We’ve got six already, you shriek!

Well let me break it down for you.

Ade has left and hopefully we will sign Hunteelar, Cana, Mautuidi and Vidic today and my post will be useless.

However, as this is unlikely, here is my take…

Our centre backs for the upcoming season as I am writing are (in order of importance in my opinion) Gallas, Verma, Toure, Sanderos/JD, Song, and another one who I shall not mention in this post at all, hence previously stated six CB’s and not seven.

Our main problem has been the defence since we last won the League, let me demonstrate with some statistics… and please… stop complaining, sometimes they are useful, seriously stop, Denilson is the best DM in the League. Seriously, in the season of 2003-2004 we scored 73 goals (best in the league) and conceded 26 (best in the league). That is to be expected, that season will probably never be repeated by anyone in our life time. It is the one to remember, and it is the one you will be telling your great great grandchildren about, in turn your children will tell their grandchildren about, and their grandchildren will be telling theirs and…  well, you get the point. That was a high point in most of our lives. So what do we expect after that? Well we expect to go on and become a dominant force through the decade like Man United did in the 90’s… it was not to be.

The 2004-2005 season came upon us. When we were everyone’s favourite the regain the title, but we finished a massive 12 points behind Roman’s Revolution. We did score 15 more goals that Chelsea though, we played some great football, what went wrong though? Why didn’t we win it? Well we conceded 36 goals, that is ten more than the season before, doesn’t sound too bad considering we scored 14 more than ourselves a season earlier. Well the answer is that Chelsea conceded only 15.

Moving onto the season of 2005-2006, now for the first time we have fallen out of the Top2 since Wenger took over, Chelsea were a new force on the block and that was expected. We weren’t just overtaken by our everlasting rivals Man United, and the new no-limit cash Chelsea, but also Liverpool. Finishing the season in 4th place, only two points ahead of Spurs, who if not poisoned, would probably take our oh so precious Champions League place. The reason? Well we conceded 31 goals, compared to Chelsea’s 22, and Liverpool’s 25. Man United did concede three goals more that us, but also scored four more. That season we finished 24 points of the top, even though scoring only four less than the Champions. We did however make the Champions League final, setting a new defensive record.

Season 2006-2007 sees us finish 4th again, conceding eight more than Man United and Liverpool and 11 more than Chelsea. With the worst goal difference in the Top4. Nothing else of note to mention that season regarding out subject.

Now we go to the season of 2007-2008 our best attempt at regaining the title. We finish 3rd and only four points off the top. This season is still fresh in all our minds, we all remember it, and we all have our theory why we didn’t win it. Mostly being that fateful day in Birmingham. But once again we conceded the most goals in the Top4. Wenger tells us that he sees the problem and that it is the defence and he will defiantly reinforce it, instead he sends Senderos out on loan, and gets Silvestre. Good reinforcement. We thought finally we will challenge, but instead we took another two steps back. Conceding 37 goals, against Man United’s 24. No point going into more depth as you all remember the season which just finished.
What was the point of me breaking all this down for you? Just to prove a simple point off, you build from the back, defence wins you titles. Take note Real Madrid.

Finally this transfer window we got a player in a position we have been begging for years. In comes Verma. I was ecstatic, I’ve seen the boy play for Ajax and he is class. However my childish happiness disapated when I analysed the situation, I realised we are in a very vulnerable position at CB.

Let me take you back to our best challenge in years again, the 2007-2008 season. We start the season with 6 Central Midfielders, sound familiar to our situation with CB’s this season? They are Cesc, Flamini, Gilberto, Diarra, Denilson, Song, and we could also throw in Diaby in there as we could throw in the CB I promised not to mention. But what happened at the end of the season? Flamini, Gilberto and Diarra are all gone, we are left with 2 players last in the picking order to partner Cesc, and knowing our luck, what happens? That’s right, Cesc get’s a long term injury. Not only do we not challenge, but we almost lose our 4th place, and take a huge step back.

Now what will happen at the end of this season? I don’t know, but what I do know for a fact, is that Gallas, Toure and Senderos are all in the last year of their contracts. So hypothetically at the end of the season Gallas would leave, he already said many times that he will at the end of his contract, Toure will leave because we didn’t give him enough playing time, and Sanderos will leave for the same reason or maybe because he stepped up, had a good season and does a Flamini. So what are we left with? Our new signing Verma, who might not be all that for Arsenal, JD and Song.

That’s right, Song, the same person who was a stop gap this season after Flamini left. So say Verma has a bad season, and it’s Gallas and Toure who play, or Gallas and Senderos. Then we are left with 3 CB’s who have been on the bench the whole season, and with no real partnership in the position where partnership is most important. Even if we buy a new CB next season, who do we pair him with? How good will be their understanding? How long will he take to settle in? Remember even Vidic took over a year before he started preforming, and that was next to Rio, not a player who was on the bench the season before.

The good news is that we gave new contracts to Fabianski, Gibbs, Jacky and Ramsey who all had 3-4 years left on the previous ones.

Defence is the part of the team which you don’t change around, you don’t substitute, it has to have the same players every week. Our 2 main Centre Backs from the last season could be both gone the season after next, if not in this summer window.

Wenger, Gazidis, whoever is in charge, please look what happened to our Central Midfield a season back, learn from your mistakes, that is how you become better. We always throw the book at the players saying “You never amount to anything after you leave Arsenal”. Well let’s give the Summer of 2008 Arsenal Transfers book to Wenger and tell him to take a look at the CM position, and then point to the last season and how our performances dropped.

Why do we always get a player we need a season too late?

Sign a new CB, extend at least one of the 3’s contract. Do something, make a move. Remember, if you concede the least goals over the course of the season, it will make you title contenders.

Duke Over and Out.

Board warning from a fan…!

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Gutten tag Grovers, this mornings first guest post is brought to you by David from the comments section, enjoy! Check back at 0730 for the second guest post instalment!

She was my high school sweetheart.

Her name is Lara.

And she’s arguably the greatest love of my life. We did everything together.

On one of our puppy love adventures….I remember distinctively sneaking into the sickbay to pretend i was sick…. and she’d do the same ….you’d be hard pressed to find another jewel like that that would stick with you through your utter stupidity and love you for it all the same….she always had this smile you see…the kinda smile that broke down piss poor attitudes…the kinda woman that saves troubled young men you see….with her deft touches, her graceful stride and her dogmatic expressions…

“Either you do what it takes to change…or Im off…Ive had enough”

And i would listen. I’d always listen.

On my return from vacation, I discovered that she was gone.

Vanished. No word. No goodbyes.

‘I wished to all things celestial that I’d have one last chance to see her and hold her once more…and i would get my wish at a Senior year party. She looked ever so lovely…but my pride and my hurt didnt let me speak just yet. I was angry you see…i couldn’t understand why she left without telling me….she would come over to speak with me but id ignore her…and she looked ever so sad….I told myself we’d patch things up later….the last dance is the slow dance…I’ll grab her by the arm…pull her close…and tell her i love her…and that would be that…nothing else would matter.’

Stay with Me… by Al Green… One of My all time favourites.

When the call for the last dance goes…she’s nowhere to be found…her best friend tells me..

“She just left really upset and she was crying and she didnt tell me where she went”

I never knew why she left…until the powers that be invented facebook…but thats another story…

Let me be the first to admit that until last summer I was and still in many regards an AKB. Yes…I chanted the chants…I wear my colors and with every other sentence I would finish it off with Arsene Knows…

Conversation with friend the Summer of 2005.

Friend: Abramovich and his *expletive* money…ruining the league.
Me: Chelsea are looking Scary at the moment. We came second though.
Friend: Arsenal? You know you guys arent going to win anything for another 4 years right?
Me: WTF are you talking about? Has any team in the World ever been invincible before?
Friend: No, Im just saying that youre Manager had this project/experiment that he did in Monaco he…
Me: Nonesense…Wenger took an otherwise abysmal Monaco team to a champions league final…the man is Greatness…Legend…We will win it all next year…

Does this conversation sound familiar? If you find yourself nodding then chances are you are not alone.
To paraphrase…lets use The Board, Lack of Cash, And Stadium as = BCS

  • The BCS are not to blame for us using the 4-5-1 when we shouldve used 4-4-2.
  • The BCS are not to blame for Zero substitutions/half time adjustments when clearly IT WASNT WORKING!
  • The BCS are not to blame for a perfectly fit Almunia and Eduardo sitting on the bench When Chelsea took a watery crap on us at the Emirates.
  • The BCS are not to blame for injury prone players like Diaby and Rosicky that have NEVER failed to disappoint and yet we have not found replacements?
  • Speaking of players the BCS are not to blame for the disgrace that is Silvestre.
  • The BCS are not to blame for piss poor attitude from the players…Yes Adebayor Inclusive…We seem to forget that the WHOLE TEAM was Lazy start of the season….Is it not down to the Manager to Motivate the Team?
  • The BCS is not to blame that we dont field our best potential and we stick with the dead wood, night in and night out….The Minute Bendy decided to start playing ball he was Benched for a Lazy Adebayor, The minute Carlos Vela started to show promise…we didnt just benched him…he disappeared into the reserves….the very day Jay Simpson Scored fantastic goals against a fully organized Premiership Wigan team he was shipped out on loan….the minute JD decided to stop committing stupid fouls and start putting in class act performances for Kolo Toure…he disappeared…the minute Alex Song yes people if we are Honest with ourselves…Alex Song Started to do a job in central midfield….he was shipped to Center back…and the hapless Denilson took his place….Jacky Boy Wonder, Ramsey all suffered serious dip informs either underplayed or being played out of position.

I understand it is easy to point fingers….and say this is what you did wrong…but for 4-5 years? We couldnt find a DM? We couldnt find a good RW/LW winger? One Class Keeper/CB?

Jabba offered to give us 60-100 million and we said no???


We still have time to put things right…we dont know what is going on financially…nobody can seem to tell the truth at our club. But what we do know is that this team as is…is not good enough.

We almost missed out on Arshy…. lets not miss out on Matuidi, Melo, M.Diarra, Toulalan,…

I told you a story of my high school sweety…dont be like me Arsenal…Swallow your pride…eat that humble pie…bring back Flamini…we are hurting since he left…he is hurting since he left….so is Cesc…do the right thing…and appreciate the Flamster and bring him back…the last dance is one week left…we might never know the real reason why Flamster left us so suddnely even though we all thought he would return….but we CANNOT afford to stick with DEnilsong another year…Diaby for DM? God help us all. This is the time to grow stronger when the opposition is Ronaldoless…and with a new Coach…and with the Back 4’s all pushing and shoving each other around…

Arsenal…do it for the fans…or else the fans will be off without warning as well.

Eduardo says he’s ready, this squad could be it, and we’re going to win the league!

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So Eduardo himself is puzzled as to his injury (which he doesn’t have) and says he is pencilled in for next Monday’s game against Szombatelya in Austria, well that is indeed good news, perhaps we all lost something in Arsene’s message regarding Nasri this week, and with the news that Nasri doesn’t have a break and he could be back in 6 weeks, in theory that would mean he’ll be back in contention for the Man City game.

On reflection I think we have enough in midfield, the thing is they can’t all play can they? So maybe Nasri out will mean that Diaby or Ramsey will get a run out next to Cesc with Rosicky and Theo out on the flanks, or Arshavin and Rosicky or even Nasri and Wilshere, now there’s a mouthwatering prospect eh!

I still believe that we need a strong ball winner in the middle with Cesc, my preferred choice would be to buy a Cana, a Diarra or bring Flamini back, I think we all know he won’t bring the Flamster or Hleb back on loan so let’s start looking at the starting options we do have.

Let’s say we go with our first choice team, assuming we have the entire squad to pick from, minus of course Nasri.

At the back we would have Sagna, Gallas, Vermaelen and Clichy with an alternative of Eboue, Kolo, Djourou and Gibbs, we then have Senderos, Song, Silvestre, Ayling and Hoyte as back up, I won’t complain at the options save I would be a lot happier with a big nasty brute in there as well and from that we could pick, Hangeland, Zapata or any number of available big men.

In the middle our starting four would be Theo, Cesc, Ramsey and Rosicky or Rosicky, Cesc, Diaby and Arshavin then we would have Vela, Barazite, Wilshere and Denilson as back up.

Up front we have Robin, Eduardo and Bendtner to choose from and if all those guys stay fit then we actually have quite a strong squad.

I have put Eboue as a defender as well as Song as I think it’s a waste of time either of those two competing in the middle with the above, Denilson and Song may end up doing a Flamster and exploding onto the scene this year but I would have to pick Diaby and Ramsey as the ones most likely, so I have.

Whatever we do, I would spend the whole season rotating them and rotating on the hour mark or when we need a change, not waiting to between the 67th and 74th minute, that’s when all the opposition expect it, because that’s when he usually does it.

So that’s it then, with arch enemy Cashley Arsehole saying he hopes Man City pip us this season, we have a target, to finish above the Chavs, and now Ade has lost his crown as Arsenal’s most hated, we can get back to supporting this team we love so much and booing Cole once again.

The speculation has ended, I doubt we’ll be getting new players in, as Arshavin says, we need to stop acting like we are kids now, because actually, we aren’t.

Time for the team to step up, time for us Grovers to get behind the team and time for Arsenal to start winning, I’m glad we have a tough start because it means that at some point toward the end it will get easier, let’s hope we can surprise the rest and win early and win ugly if we have to.

Someone came on the other day and said ‘What will you say if this team starts winning’ well that’s simple really, I would say great, why? Because I’m an Arsenal fan you dipstick, like you all are Grovers, the time for talking is at an end, the season begins now, come on the Arsenal!